Create a family: Value every member

I can and will make a positive impact on the world while raising my own children.

I feel I must apologize to Rhonda Jacobson because my family and I are the antithesis of every point that was put forth in her Nov. 21 guest column “Produce less children, value each one more.” I am one of eight children. By Jacobson’s reasoning, I and my siblings must have been neglected, unable to ever have a chance to attend college, believe that a woman’s place is barefoot and pregnant and our parents must have been unable to support us without working themselves to death. I’m terribly sorry, but we were about as far from being neglected as children get. Although my father insisted on buying generic food, it was because he was wise with money, not strapped for it, but not filthy rich either. Further, all eight of us have (or will) attend college to obtain a degree, and the four girls are tending toward the technical side, not the barefoot side, though my mother was a stay-at-home mom.

I can already hear the rebuttal: “You are just the exception!” I’ve become used to it. I am a tall female engineer, happily married for three years, with no kids (yet), and from a large, happy family whose parents have never been divorced. I am the exception. I shouldn’t be, but I am.

Of course, I’m not saying there should be more tall females from large families, but the rest of it really shouldn’t be as rare as it is. I am most sorry for that.

The path to changing this, though, is not for happy, healthy, capable people to deny their desire, their right, to bear their own children. So much more headway can be made through community involvement. Educate parents on how better to care and provide for their families. Donate to organizations like the United Way. Volunteer at a shelter, a youth center or with Habitat for Humanity. Make birth control methods more available to people having unwanted children in the first place. Help families help themselves instead of assuming you have to take over the child-rearing to fix anything.

I, for one, can and will make a positive impact on the world while raising my own children, and I will teach them to do the same. I will also teach them to be proud of who they are, and to not let others guilt them into making a particular decision. This is, after all, the land of the free, and we are fortunate to not have laws that dictate to us how many children we are to have or not to have… it is our choice.

Elizabeth Schlesky is a University alumna. Please send comments to [email protected]